Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I make a private appointment with a specialist?
- How can I help my Doctor?
- How do I get a sick note?
- How long will I have to wait if I've been referred for treatment by my GP?
- How do I get a repeat prescription?
How do I make a private appointment
with a specialist?
Having discussed the matter with your GP, you will be given the name of a specialist (or you may already have someone in mind). If you are financing the consultation through insurance cover, you will need to check with the company that your policy covers the consultation and any further treatment (operation, hospital stay etc). Of course, this doesn't matter if you are financing the private treatment yourself. Most private consultations in our area are with specialists who do their NHS work in the Princess of Wales Hospital, Bridgend. This hospital has a private clinic called "The Bridgend Clinic" (01656 754323). You must telephone the Bridgend clinic to make your appointment - we do NOT make private appointments on your behalf. The reason for this is that you can choose an appointment time that suits you best. If you wish to see a specialist who does private work at SPIRE in Croescadarn Rd, Pentwyn, Cardiff (029 2073 5515) you can do this even if you are not a member of SPIRE. As a rough guide, most private consultations cost between £100 - £150 (This does not include any further treatment or investigations).
When you know your appointment time, give our secretaries a ring Mary (Llanharan patients) or Emma (Pencoed patients) so that they can liaise with you to collect your referral letter from your GP. They will appreciate a little time to prepare your letter, so please let them know well in advance of your appointment.
How can I help my Doctor?
The following points will help you to get the most out of the service we provide and will greatly help us.
Keep your appointment
Around 250 appointments are wasted each month because patients book an appointment and then simply fail to turn up! This is a terrible waste of our time and contributes significantly to waiting times. Every day we have patients who can take cancelled appointments provided you cancel your appointment and let us know within a reasonable time.
One person per appointment
It may be tempting to ask the Doctor to see another patient during your appointment (e.g. accompanying child/spouse). Much as we would like to help, please remember that each appointment lasts 10 minutes. GPs are already very stretched to deal with your problem in only 10 minutes as it is and GPs are currently campaigning to be given the resources to have more time with their patients. The only reason that appointments are 10 minutes long is to balance supply and demand. Longer consultations would lead to longer waiting times (we could not see as many patients per day). If we have to see an additional patient during your appointment, it gives us 5 minutes to deal with your problem - and that is unreasonable for both Dr and patient. If the extra patient is an absolute emergency, please let the reception staff know upon arrival and the emergency case will be slotted in with the first available Dr.
Do you need a longer appointment?
If your problem is more complicated or you think you may need longer than 10 minutes, then please feel free to book a double appointment. Female patients who may require an internal examination. If you have a problem that does not require an examination (such as a query about medication), it is possible to book a 5 minute telephone consultation with the Doctor (see individual surgery pages for details)
Do you need to see the Dr at all?
Nurses perform many duties e.g. vaccinations, dressings and they may be able to offer advice on minor illness. All routine blood pressure readings are now with the Health Care Assistants (not the nurses). Pharmacists provide a very useful, and often overlooked, service to patients. They are qualified to advise on many different treatments that you may try before seeing the Dr. They are an invaluable source of information and advice for treatment of simple sore throats and colds.
One appointment, one problem
Patients often see us after "saving up" several problems, believing that this is helpful to us. It is not. Trying to deal with 3 problems gives us around 2 minutes per problem. This includes history, examination, diagnosis and treatment!! Either stick to one problem or book a double appointment to give us more time.
Try to be concise and to the point
You might want to jot down a few points on a piece of paper before you come to see us. Over 90% of the information gained in making a diagnosis comes from the history given to us and not the examination, as people often think. If you can give us an accurate and concise history, it makes our job much easier.
We can see 8 patients in surgery in the time it takes to make only 3 home visits. Please only request a visit when you really need it. When you speak to the receptionist, you will be asked to provide details. This information is treated in the strictest confidence and is passed on to the Dr so that we can decide if a home visit is really justified, whether attendance at surgery, casualty or direct admission to hospital is more appropriate. Since most visits are done after morning surgery, the information that you provide will help us decide whether the Dr should leave the surgery at once for an immediate visit or whether it can wait until after surgery. Please telephone early if you can, preferably before 10:30am. this helps us to allocate the calls between the Doctors in the most efficient way. Doctors visit only when a patient is truly housebound (such as the frail elderly or terminally ill). There are very few instances when a patient is unable to attend surgery for medical reasons and almost all children would be expected to attend surgery.
Not sure if you need an appointment or not?
We are always happy to advise over the phone - if you're not sure what to do, please ask. If you need the Dr to fill in a form, it may be possible to do this without seeing the Dr provided that the necessary information is in your medical records. Most insurance reports and certificates can be completed if you leave the form at reception. If the Dr needs to see you, we can always let you know. Remember that any documents requiring payment will have to be picked up from reception by the patient (we do not automatically "post on" any private forms as a routine).
If you have seen a Doctor and he/she has arranged tests or follow up, it makes sense to return to see the same Doctor whenever possible. It will save you from having to repeat the history again to a different Doctor and it makes life a lot easier for your Doctor.
We are not qualified Dentists!
We are increasingly seeing patients with dental problems in the surgery and, particularly, out of hours. GPs have no extra training or expertise in dentistry. If you have toothache or a dental problem, please contact your Dentist, who is an expert in this field. Dentists have the same obligations as we do for seeing their patients as an emergency or out of hours and should provide you with contact details. You would not visit the Dentist to seek treatment for asthma or angina, so please do not use your GP as an alternative dental service!
How do I get a sick note? .
If you have recently seen a different doctor (either at our surgery, in
the hospital or casualty) and you need to update your Fit note, we may
be able to provide a note for you without you needing to come to the
surgery. Our receptionists will be happy to advise you whether you need
a note and how to get it.
Many consultations are taken up by patients coming to see the Doctor for a sick note (now known as "Fit notes") when they don't actually need one! There are strict guidelines that Doctors have to follow when issuing Fit notes. You DO NOT need to see the Doctor for an illness lasting less than 7 days. The government have tried to ease the burden on GPs time by requesting that hospital doctors provide certificates for patients who are currently in hospital. For more information, visit the DWP website at Department for Work and Pensions
. If you have recently seen a different doctor (either at our surgery, in the hospital or casualty) and you need to update your Fit note, we may be able to provide a note for you without you needing to come to the surgery. Our receptionists will be happy to advise you whether you need a note and how to get it.
How long will I have to wait
if I've been referred for treatment by my GP?
If you have been referred by your GP for a hospital appointment with a consultant or if you are waiting for surgery at the hospital, you can now check the estimated waiting list time in several ways. Either phone NHS Direct on 0845 4647 and they will be able to give details (you will need to know the name of the hospital, the Consultant and the type of surgery you will be receiving before phoning).
How do I get a repeat prescription?
Visit the MyHealthOnline website by clicking the link to "Prescriptions" section of the website. You must pre-register to use this system first and our prescriptions section explains how to do this.